Amniotic fluid is the warm fluid cushion in the womb, within which your baby is safely protected and nurtured during pregnancy. This fluid contains the necessary hormones, nutrients, immune cells, and baby’s urine. The level of this fluid keeps increasing as your gestation progresses.
During pregnancy, the fluid discharge from your body is considerably more. Your bladder gets full often, the enhanced hormonal function increases the vaginal discharge, and you tend to pass few drops of urine when you cough or sneeze. Therefore, it might be difficult to distinguish between normal discharge and amniotic leakage.
Below are the signs, causes, and treatment for leaking amniotic fluid.
Signs Of Leaking Amniotic Fluid
An amniotic leak is different from normal pregnancy discharge in the following ways:
- Amniotic fluid is colorless and odorless, as against urine which has an odor and is slightly yellowish in color, and vaginal discharge which is white and thick.
- Sometimes, the amniotic fluid could be tinted with mucus or spots of blood.
- The flow is continuous, steady (sometimes) and usually saturates your undergarment or sanitary pad.
- Unlike urine, you do not have a control over the flow of amniotic fluid.
- A greenish or brownish tint in the discharge could indicate the baby’s bowel movements, which is a matter of concern and immediate medical attention.
Causes Of Amniotic Leakage
1. Premature Amniotic Sac Rupture
This usually happens during the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy, when the amniotic sac ruptures spontaneously leading to amniotic fluid leakage. The condition is called Premature/Spontaneous Rupture Of Membrane (S/PROM). There could be various reasons like an infection of the cervix, vagina, or uterus, poor diet, and alcohol or drug abuse. A history of SROM, prior surgeries on uterus or cervix could also impact.
2. Split In Amniotic Sac Or Membrane
The amniotic membrane is made up of two co-joined layers called chorionic and amnionic membranes. A split in the two layers causes the leakage. However, this condition gets healed by itself when both the layers rejoin and the leakage stops eventually. This is also called “pregnancy leakage.”
3. Beginning Of Labor
A continuous, involuntary leakage post 39th or 40th week could indicate the beginning of a labor. It initially starts with a tension in your sac which puts a lot of pressure on the sac, ultimately rupturing it and causing the leakage. Rush to the hospital immediately.
Treatment For Leaking Amniotic Fluid
The treatment usually depends on the stage of pregnancy and various medications and therapies are employed accordingly.
1. Before 24th Week
If the amniotic leakage happens before the 24th week of pregnancy, you will be admitted to a hospital and continuously monitored using an ultrasound scan for the health of the baby and you. Since it is too early for the baby to be delivered, a miscarriage may be unavoidable.
2. Between 24th And 31st Week
After admitting you to the hospital, you will be given antibiotics to avoid any infections. Steroids will be administered for baby’s lung development. The doctor will try to postpone the labor until 33 weeks, but in cases when it is not feasible, an early delivery may be suggested.
3. During 32nd And 33rd Week
Antibiotics and steroids will be administered and baby’s lung development will be continuously monitored. A labor can be induced during this period without any delay.
4. Between 34th Week And Due Date
Antibiotics are given and the condition will be closely monitored to see if the baby is good to come out. A labor can be induced anytime after 34th week since the baby can now sustain the extrauterine environment.
Apart from these, sufficient hydration is ensured through IV or oral fluids to regain and retain the level of fluids in the amniotic sac.